The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm industry trade group, estimates there were millions of new gun buyers in the U.S. last year and, citing their own surveys, say a significant number of first-time gun buyers are women and black customers. 

NSSF surveys revealed that 58 percent of firearm purchases were among African American men and women, the largest increase of any demographic group. Women comprised 40 percent of first-time gun purchasers. Retailers noted that they are seeing a 95 percent increase in firearm sales and a 139 percent increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019.

If you, or someone you know, are first-time gun owners, here are a few tips to help you safely use and store your weapon.

Always do a safety check. Whenever you pick up your gun, you should always check the chamber or cylinder to ensure it isn’t loaded. Don’t take anyone’s word that it’s safe. It’s your responsibility to know your weapon.

Keep your finger above the trigger, not on it. Many firearm accidents could be prevented if the user remembers this simple tip. 

Store your weapon properly to keep it out of the hands of children or thieves. Keep your weapons locked in a safe or a hidden concealment item. If you have many guns, there are many safes that will help keep your family safe. If you have one or two guns, a hidden concealment shelf might be just what you need to keep your weapon handy, but safe for children. Timber Vaults has some great options to consider. 

Practice makes a huge difference in how you will be able to use your new gun. If you can’t accurately shoot, conduct a reload or clear a malfunction, it might be a good idea to seek some professional training. There are many options to consider wherever you live. Also, be sure to check with your dealer or trainer to make sure you have the right ammunition for your new gun. 

If other family members want to use your weapon, it’s important to educate them on gun safety. My dad had many guns in our home, and he made each kid take a hunter safety training course to help us learn to respect weapons and use them wisely. Never leave a weapon unattended for any reason in your home. 
Finally, check out the gun laws in your community. Laws (local, state and federal) vary widely, so it’s important to learn about the laws that impact your community. It’s relatively easy to check on the regulations that you need to follow to safely use your new weapon. The information is readily available online.